Life after Startups for News. How are the media startups holding up?

Providing video content for Reuters, helping CNN be the first broadcast entity authorised by the US government to flying drones over people or supporting The Associated Press to integrate social media content in their articles are some of the endeavours previous Startups for News competitors have successfully undertaken over the past few months.

Wilfred Iven

The startup world is not short of challenges. Combine this with selling services or providing tools for the ever changing journalism panorama and the result can either be disastrous or inspiring. After participating in Startups For News, many early stage startups developed into full-fledged companies that went on to provide services to the biggest newsrooms in the world, like helping journalists with transcribing interviews or editing video content for social media. They have since built partnerships and have received investment to advance their product.

Wibbitz launched a creative kit that makes it easier to costumize videos

The news cycle today is faster and more demanding than ever. Tools like Wibbitz allow journalists to spend less time editing video content, giving them more time for research and reporting. Wibbitz automatically creates short videos from text content. The company participated in Startups For News in 2014 and moved their offices to New York last year. They have recently gained major partners among which USA TODAY, Hearst and ViralNova. More recently they announced partnerships with AOL, Reuters and Prisma Media. They have raised over 10 million dollars since 2014.

Another way to face the demanding news environment is with Trint, the winner of the SFN 2016 competition. Trint’s software is a very ingenious tool, expediting the painstaking and time-consuming transcribing process with auto-transcribe and auto-correction features. The early version was tested by Thomson Reuters, BBC, NPR and The Washington Post and the service is now completely operational in English. There is also a beta version for French, German and Spanish.

Trint, the winner of Startups for News 2016 competition, pitching their idea at GEN Summit 2016

Navigating social media can get tough on media outlets. SAM, an acronym standing for Social Asset Management, makes it easier to find, verify and integrate social media into articles. This Canadian startup was founded in 2013 and participated in the 2015 edition of SFN. Their software is already being used in newsrooms like the Financial Times, Toronto Star or BBC. SAM announced in April that the Associated Press joined their list of funders and they will open offices in London and New York.

But even if social media gives an edge to journalism, it can also control how media outlets communicate with their audiences. Spot.IM helps media organisations interact directly with their communities and promote more engagement — which leads to more page views and increased revenue. They have already partnered with over 25 percent of the digital publishing industry with AOL, News Corp, Meredith Corporation, Time Inc. They participated in SFN in 2015 and just received 13 million dollars in a funding round allowing them to develop tools for media websites to cater to their communities.

Spot.IM has already partnered with 25% of the digital publishing media industry and have received over 13 million dollars to continue to develop their products.

While software innovation enjoys its fair share of focus and the subsequent success stories, hardware tools are also changing the way we look at news reporting. Fotokite limits the risks of manipulating a flying camera above people since it is connected to the commands, like a full-fledged kite. CNN just recently became the first organization to be granted a waiver by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly unmanned aerial systems over people in the United States and they are partnering with Fotokite for this new experience. Fotokite was one of the finalists of SFN in 2015 and it starter testing their products with companies such as the BBC.

With five successful editions of Startups For News, the Global Editors Network (GEN) is now launching its sixth edition — the application period closes on 1 January. In order to participate in Startups for News, startups should be no older than three years and not have received more than 1 million euros in external investments.


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